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This is Why! part 4

Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be found here . In the last entry we talked about how to use leftovers to help stock our pantries. This week ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Building a Basic One Month Preparedness Pantry ... part 2

Before I get started with this post I want to thank Mimi for her generous donation. You can find Mimi blogging over on her blog at A Tray Full of Bliss.   Thank you Mimi!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!   If you have found my writings helpful and would like to make a donation, you can find the 'donate' button at the bottom of this post.

Part 1 of this series can be found HERE.  The reason why I started this series can be found HERE.

Part 2 is all about non- electric emergency lighting...

When the power is disrupted in an emergency situation the lights go out as well.  If the power interruption happens in the evening or at night we are literally left in the dark with no warning.  No one likes stumbling around in the dark looking for a flashlight or a candle to light so part of our basic one month preparedness pantry is to have our non-electric light sources available and ready for use.

Here are some options:

Flashlight.  This is probably the first thing we all reach for when the lights go out so we need to know where we can find one ASAP.  Pick a location in your house and keep one there at all times when not in use, that way you will know where to go immediately when it’s needed.  Here's an option for a solar powered flashlight too!

Oil lamps.  (make sure you have oil for your lamps as well)  We keep our oil lamps displayed as part of our home d├ęcor so that they will be ready to light when needed.  We keep oil for our lamps in a safe place that is easily accessible to us.

Battery operated lamps/lanterns (make sure you have batteries)  Our battery operated lantern is stored on a shelf where all we need to do is reach and get it.  We also have a central location for all our batteries.  We know right where to go when batteries are needed and don’t have to spend time searching for them.  If power has already been lost, you don’t want to be searching around in the dark for batteries so pick one location and keep all your batteries together.

Head lamps.  I can’t say enough good about head lamps.  During our days without power during Hurricane Matthew I used a head lamp quite a bit.  It went with me where ever I went and left my hands free.  You can adjust the light up or down on the ones we have as well as the brightness or dimness.   It sure was handy when doing handwork or reading and of course when up and walking around.

Emergency candles.  Emergency candles are different from regular candles.  Emergency candles are meant to burn longer and put out a bit more light.  Make sure you have a safe way to burn them.   If they are single stand alone candles make sure you put them in a container that will not allow them to fall over.  You don’t want to have to worry about your house catching on fire while providing light for your home.

Solar powered landscaping lights.  If you have solar powered landscaping lights in your yard, bring them in and use them as a light source.  The next morning take them back outside to let them recharge.  It’s not a huge amount of light but it is better than nothing.

Fragrance candles can be used but they don’t give off as much light and you need to be aware of anyone in your household who might have allergies to the fragrance.

Store these items somewhere in your house so that you can get to them easily when needed, maybe a tub or tote labeled emergency lighting would work.  If you're storing oil lamps make sure they are empty of any oil.   The goal is to know where your emergency lighting supplies are and be able to get to them as soon as possible when needed.

One more thing … store enough for a month!   You’ll be surprised how much you'll use and while no one anticipates being without power for an entire month, having what you think is a month’s supply will ensure that you actually do have enough to get through several days without being left completely in the dark!

Being prepared with non-electric emergency lighting means the difference between sitting in the dark and as one person put it, ‘looking at the four walls and doing nothing’ and being able to function.

Patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27




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A Working Pantry is more than just about food! It's about household items needed to keep my home running smoothly readily available when needed.  It's about keeping a gift trunk so that I'm ready for any gift giving occasion.  It's about a lifestyle.  It's about keeping my home and looking well to the ways of my household and it's about doing it all as frugally as possible.  I hope you enjoy what you read here.

19 comments:

  1. Great post You can take the solar powered lights and up them in a empty flower pot turned up side down. Can us a terra cotta pot which already has a drain hole of the plastic pots you can buy anywhere and drill your own holes. These would be great as "nightlights" in hallways or bathrooms during a power outage. donna

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    1. Donna, that's a good idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Harbor Freight always has the free item coupons with a purchase. I love the headlamps for them. We keep them all over the house and in our cars too. My husband keeps one at work too. My car got a flat at night and my husband used the headlamp to change it. He was very happy it was in the car.

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    1. Marybeth, that's a good idea to keep one in the car, I hadn't thought about that!! Thank you for sharing!

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  3. I never thought much of having a head lamp, but your suggestion has made me think how useful having them would be. I'm sure there would be many jobs that might need to be done during an emergency for which you may need both hands free. Thank you for the recommendation, Patsy!

    Here's my helpful tip from someone who works in a pioneer village...to help with illumination, put the light source in front of a mirror. It will help reflect the light around the room.

    Candles can also be used to help heat the room for those who live in colder climates. Flip a the ceramic liner of the crock pot upside down, propped up to create a couple inches air space underneath (can use a couple stones, bricks or even an oven proof pan). Place a few tealight candles directly under the crock pot and light them. The heat from the flames will heat up the ceramic liner, which in turn will radiate heat into the room. I haven't tried this yet, so I don't know how much heat it will produce. However, if it is cold outside, and you have absolutely no heat, any amount would be helpful!

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    1. Rhonda, putting the light source in front of a mirror will help reflect the light around the room. Thanks for bringing that to our attention!

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  4. Lots of great ideas Patsy. We also have a draw that has a container full of lighters. I have matches in the pantry but find having lighters handy is a good idea. We also have button lights. These lights are just over 20mm wide, about 1 inch. They stick to the wall and stay there when not in use. There is a simple flick switch and the room is lit. We got ours from Bunnings which is a large Hardware and homewares group.
    From a point of experience, please check your battery stash. I had plenty of batteries but the high humidity of where we lived at that point, had started the batteries corroding. I was lucky enough to have enough to get us through but I only had enough. Now I make sure I check my emergency box and keep an eye on the batteries.

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    1. Jane, those button lights sound like a good idea. I'm going to see if I can find them here in the U.S. That's a good reminder about checking our batteries. We certainly don't want to find they're not usable when we most need them!

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  5. Hi Patsy,
    Very good subject matter! Having plenty of extra light sources is very much a comfort during a power outage. We have headlamps and I love them to read by when the power is out. If you worry about batteries and humidity you can store them in a container of rice. The rice will absorb any moisture and keep the batteries from corroding just be sure not to eat the rice at any point. Also you can make emergency lighting with a tuna can, cardboard and paraffin wax, but when you put them out I suggest doing so outside in case they smoke. I have a good supply of lighting, but I am always on the hunt for things to add to my supplies. Thank you for this post Patsi!
    Blessings,
    Vicky

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    1. Vicky, that's a good tip about storing batteries. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. This year, Patsy, since our property power pole fell down, we've been living off grid, and loving it! Our joy is our homemade olive oil/sunflower oil lamp, for which we make our own floating wicks. The floating feature enables it to run all night. It is cheaper than candles, and the olive oil version burns without smoke.
    We find cigarette gas lighters aren't lasting long, and matches don't work in high humidity (like after floods). Old style lighters are an interest of mine! Cheap matches are no longer stocked, otherwise we could try storing them in rice or silica, etc (thanks, Vicky!)
    Regards,
    Rachel Holt

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    1. Rachel, do you have instructions for your floating wicks and oil lamps?

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    2. Dear Patsy,

      I am aiming, here, to describe how to make a simple oil lamp with a floating wick.

      Firstly, the lamp part is very easy. This is just a glass jar holding oil. If one wants a very large flame, then a heat resistant preserving jar is required. We currently use a small, squat honey jar. It warms slowly, and the heat escapes directly upwards, so it is suitable for a modest size flame. Olive oil (even recycled from cooking) works really well and doesn't smoke. It is cheaper than candles. We have also used sunflower oil. It tends to smoke (but looks good tonight!), and is much, much cheaper again than olive oil.

      I learnt about wick making from a rough description on the internet. It looks like I've lost the link to that! Anyway, my best wicks are made using this rough description to treat the plaited cord that I make using nine strands of knitting cotton. Cotton or linen fabric can also be used. I have not yet made a fabric wick as good as the knitting cotton cord. The plaited wick then needs to be covered with boiling water - enough to wet it. Then cover the wet wick with fine sea salt and stir/jiggle. (I find that not all of the salt dissolves in the water.) Then, a smaller amount of borax is added and stirred/jiggled. I let the wick soak for a while before wringing it out and hanging it up to dry. That's the wick. In my experience, using salt only will still work. Using only borax will not work. Borax just makes the wick burn longer and brighter. (Harpers Borax has some information.) After the burnt wick is cool, we trim the black carbon off the end with our fingers. A straight edge works well for us. Having the top of the wick 6mm/quarter inch above the oil surface is a good guide. Increase the height for a taller flame. Have a wider wick for a wider flame. Reduce the height to reduce smoking. Having the wick dangling on the bottom of the jar affects balance. To avoid excess cutting of the wick, a taller jar can be useful. Topping up the oil before lighting floats the wick higher and enables easier, safer lighting.

      Then comes the floater for the wick. This holds the wick above the oil. The beauty of it is that the wick rises and falls with the oil level, so the wick does not need height adjusting and can easily burn all night. This is my husband's design and answer to this problem. Firstly, a cork is used as the floater - since it floats! It is placed inside a metal wine bottle lid, since the lid does not burn! The cork is trimmed shorter to fit within the height of the lid. This measurement is flexible. If there is sideways movement of the cork within the lid, then it should be packed securely - at three equidistant points - with bits of matchstick or cardboard or sticks ..... With the cork secure inside the wine bottle lid, drill a 5/32 inch hole through the centre point of both the lid and cork. This should hold the wick loosely. There is just one more problem to solve. To prevent the floater listing over with air bubbles (& being swamped with oil), three tiny, equidistant holes need to be drilled through the LID ONLY - in the spaces between the packing sticks, if they were required. The floater is ready!

      Thread the wick. (After wetting the wick end with oil, thread it through the drill hole with a twisting motion.) Set the wick afloat in the oil. Light the oil lamp!

      Lo and behold! You should have a simple, beautiful oil lamp to shine through the night!!

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  7. Patsy, we have lots of head lamps here as my hubby uses them for fishing :-) Lots of good ideas in your post as well as in the comments. Thanks heaps.

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    1. Thank you Nanna Chel, I agree lots of good ideas in the comments!

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  8. Patsy, I didn't know there were emergency candles. Where might I look for them? Thanks. Nancy

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    1. Nancy, you can click on the link in the post or you can check at Walmart. I think I got mine at Walmart. Hope this helps!

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  9. I think in a scary or worrying situation the darkness would be terrifying. Light is comfort plus practically necessary. I think I could cover a month. My issue is having extra to help family if they couldn't cover a month themselves! xxx

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    1. Same here Annabel, I'm thinking an 'emergency light' box of goodies would make good Christmas gifts for my children!

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